The US government said that it will increase the operating payments that acute-care and long-term care hospitals receive from Medicare for inpatient care for the federal fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a 1.4 percent rate update for 3,400 acute care hospitals and a 1.1 percent rate update for 435 long-term care hospitals for fiscal year 2015.
Under a final rule released on Monday, CMS also said it would distribute $7.65 billion in payments to hospitals for uncompensated care, a decrease from the $8.56 billion it initially proposed.
The American Hospital Association said it was disappointed in the higher-than-expected payment cuts.
“Today’s rule will make it more difficult for hospitals to maintain their commitment to their communities,” Linda Fishman, AHA senior vice president, said in a statement. “These payments provide vital support to hospitals that serve the most vulnerable patients.”
CMS also announced a market basket update of 2.9 percent but said the rate could vary depending on whether a hospital participates in government efforts to address quality care issues and automates its information systems to accommodate electronic health records. The market basket, a fixed index of goods and services, reflects the influence of inflation and is used to update payments and cost limits within Medicare.
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